I pay a lot of attention to baby names. I can’t help it—I’m a Jennifer from the ’70s. It’s like my mom took ten minutes between fondue parties and waiting in line for gas to decide, “I think I’ll name her the next name I hear shouted across this K-Mart.”
In all honesty, my mom named me after the heroine from the book The Testimony of Two Men by Taylor Caldwell—a slightly smutty historical novel that became a mini-series, while many Jennifers were named after the classic Ryan O’Neal/Ali MacGraw film Love Story. Of course, none of this matters when you have to go by your last name so that the teacher can keep up with the eight Jennifers in your class…
I hated my name so much that I once asked my mom to change it to DARLENE. Thankfully, she said no.
The fact that my name was hellishly common straight-up pales in comparison to what today’s kids face. From the need to end every other name with -ayden, to the gross misspellings (Maddisyn, anyone?), there are some truly unfortunate handles out there. I’m not the only one who’s tired of today’s baby-naming conventions, as shown in this poll of the most hated baby names.
It’s impossible to know for sure what names will be most hated over the next few years, but I’ve put together some rules that will help you avoid giving your little one a mediocre moniker:
- No soap opera names. Sure, lovely classic names occasionally show up on the daytime soaps, but names like Catlin, Damian, and Marlena scream Days of Our Lives.
- Nothing with a Y in the middle. Unless you’re Welsh, a Y in the middle of your name is probably as good a predictor of future prison time as anything. All the -ayden names qualify, as well as most of the misspelled names, and the all-time classic: Wayne. Speaking of which…
- No misspellings. Most of the misspelled names are garbled versions of top ten names. Misspelling a name doesn’t make it unique, unless you consider “unemployable” unique.
- No brand names. Mercedes, Porsche, Tiffany, Bentley, Chanel… no matter how luxurious the product, everybody knows your baby name was free. Speaking of which, how come nobody names their kid Chevrolet or Wal-Mart?
- No names that have been popular for 10 years or less. This is the advice I’d go back and give my own mom.
From what I can gather, the worst names seem to come from attempts to make your baby more unique. The good news is, your baby already is unique! So leave the crazy names to the pros (Hollywood actors).